214 The Princess and the Goblin
was not now in the least afraid for himself, he was for the princess.
Irene looked once round, saw the fearful creatures awake, and like the wise princess she was, dashed the torch on the ground and extinguished it, crying out—
" Here, Curdie, take my hand."
He darted to her side, forgetting neither the queen's shoe nor his pickaxe, and caught hold of her hand, as she sped fearlessly where her thread guided her. They heard the queen give a great bellow; but they had a good start, for it would be some time before they could get torches lighted to pursue them. Just as they thought they saw a gleam behind them, the thread brought them to a very narrow opening, through which Irene crept easily, and Curdie with difficulty.
"Now," said Curdie; "I think we shall be safe."
" Of course we shall," returned Irene.
"Why do you think so?" asked Curdie.
"Because my grandmother is taking care of us."
" That's all nonsense," said Curdie. "I don't know what you mean."